Students and staff at two local school districts have reached out to help victims of the West fertilizer factory explosion.

Teachers and others loaded two trailers with hundreds of donated goods collected by Haynes Elementary School in Killeen. Maria Kelpe, a first-grade teacher, said the school sent a letter home last week with students asking for donations on Thursday.

“That same day we had donations coming in,” Kelpe said. “It’s really beautiful to see how unselfish they were.” Kelp said the idea came fewer than 12 hours after the factory explosion. As she walked to her classroom, Isabell Lydens, a first-grader, asked if she had heard the troubling news, sparking a conversation about helping neighbors.

“We want to teach them about being good citizens,” Kelpe said. “We want them to know what to do when someone is in need. You don’t just stand by and watch, you actually help out.”

The school collected canned goods, diapers, toys and clothes, which will be added to the Belton Fire Department’s collection efforts.

Help from Cove

The Copperas Cove Independent School District organized its own donation drive for students in West, raising more than $9,000 in one day.

The district collected the monetary donations Monday as it joined with Connally ISD’s “Go Red for West!” campaign. Copperas Cove students and staff were encouraged to wear red shirts to show their support and could also choose to bring a $1 donation.

Connally ISD announced Thursday that it would provide facilities, transportation, nutrition and other necessities for West students.

Herald reporter Chris McGuinness contributed to this report.

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